“To those who love, nothing costs too much.” – St. Julie Billiart
Sister Rosemary Reynolds grew up in the New Haven area. She comes from what she describes as a “large clan.” Her family was close and supportive, and very involved in the local parish. At an early age, they instilled in young Sister Rosemary a desire to help others; “we believe that we are responsible for those we meet along the way,” she recalls.
Women religious were a part of her life from a young age. Many of her teachers in grammar school were Sisters of Mercy. At St. Mary’s High School, she was taught by Dominican Sisters. Religious life, while not at the forefront of her mind, began to appeal to Sister Rosemary –
“Religious life was always something at the back of my mind.”
After high school, she attended Sacred Heart University (then in Bridgeport, now in Fairfield, Connecticut). She enjoyed her experiences there but lacking a clear sense of direction, she took two years off to work at Yale New Haven Hospital.
This experience led her to decide to become a social worker. She returned to Sacred Heart University to study sociology and social work.
At Sacred Heart, she met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Her call to become a Sister became louder. She was invited to dinner by Sister Virginia Sheehan, where she met many other Sisters of Notre Dame. She was impressed by them, and intrigued by the way in which they talked about their foundress, St. Julie Billiart. “I thought she was still alive!” she recalls with a laugh. Now, as a Sister herself, she understands the Sister’s enthusiasm: “she is real to us. We have her spirit within us.”
Following her renewed calling, Sister Rosemary Reynolds entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1973.
Her first mission sent her to St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain, Conn., where she worked in the counseling department and taught religion. Here, she came to fall in love with teaching and working with students.
She worked for many years as a high school counselor at schools throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. She holds an MA in Counseling Psychology and School Counselling from Southern Connecticut State University. Now, she works as the Associate Director of the Office of Careers and Professional Development at Albertus Magnus College, in New Haven, Conn.
Throughout her various ministries, she has found inspiration and invigoration in working with students. Young people, in her words, are “hope for our church, our community, and our world.”
Looking back at these last 50 years of service as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, she is deeply grateful for the support of her family, her friends, and her fellow Sisters. “I am grateful,” she reflects, “that I found Notre Dame and that Notre Dame found me.”